How to identify and overcome the law of fear
God’s Word assures us: “The fear of the wicked will come upon him” (Prov. 10:24). Job testified: “That what I feared came to pass.” This is a spiritual law that reigns over the behavior of fear. Through fear we create areas of spiritual, moral and sentimental vulnerability. The tendency is to lower our guard and give up. The enemy will attack us in whatever areas we fear. Areas in our lives where there is fear establish the targets of the enemy’s attack. That is the way that it works.
Only the fear of God can overcome fear. Godly fear opens the doors to revelation for us to know God thus conquering all other fears. Consequently, fear, when overcome, gives place to prayer and boldness.
Strongholds of fear: where believers try to hide
Fear is easily able to build strongholds in the human heart. It slowly infiltrates and establishes thoughts and sophisms that paralyze us. This can be diagnosed when we retreat to certain hiding places.
“Now the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold; depart, and go to the land of Judah. So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.” (1 Samuel 22:5).
God commanded David to leave his hiding place and go to the land of Judah in search of King Saul, his persistent persecutor. The cave was a physically safe place, but spiritually harmful. David had to face and overcome the fear that he had nourished within of King Saul. The biggest enemy of the moment was not King Saul, but the oppressive fear that was little by little destroying David’s confidence in God. The place where we face fear is the territory of dependence on God. Or in other words, boldness is the territory of miracles. God wanted David in this place.
One of the most common places to hide from God is in the church: behind a religious label, behind the fame of the denomination, behind the ministry, behind a title, job or position. However, God will certainly bring changes to flush us out of these hiding places that undermine our dependence on the Holy Spirit. He is always trying to push us to courageous action, albeit in harmony with His Word, or in other words, with boldness, but not presumption.
Many Christians in the church are just like Adam in the Garden of Eden, hiding from God, intimidated, inhibited, dodging God and His will. One of God’s greatest challenges is dislodging believers from their hiding places. Jesus denounced some of these hiding places in which we excuse ourselves from the divine calling:
Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind. (Luke 14:15-21)
We have here three structures that are commonly used to justify our fear and lack of disposition with respect to the call of God: business, work and family. The worst part is that we begin to use inexcusable excuses with respect to these things: who would buy a parcel of land before seeing it? Who would buy a yoke of oxen or a car without taking it for a test-drive? It is very strategic when we use the health of our marriage, family or children to support our excuses for lack of involvement in God’s work. However, the backdrop of these excuses and strategies is fear and inertia.
Fear can easily lead a person to care much more about these things to the point of sacrificing God’s invitation. This is the terrible power that insecurity has of compromising even our eternal destiny.
Just as Jesus mentioned in this parable, it is not surprising that today the people with the greatest logical, financial and social potential are not lined up with the will of God, while unbelievably the people who God uses most in His kingdom are the poor, lame, blind and handicapped, people who are humanly incapable, yet available. The worthy become unworthy and the unworthy become worthy. God’s principal requirement to use a person is his availability and devotion. The manner that we deal with our fears will define whether we genuinely finish our race or not. If we listen to our fears, the race will be lost, but if we listen to God’s direction and persevere in obedience to his voice, then we will finish the race and receive the crown.